If you google "parapsychology," the first thing that will probably pop up is a Wikipedia entry loosely (and, in my opinion, rather offensively) defining it as a "pseudoscience."
This is unfortunate, because it distracts the reader from realizing that psychical research, also known as 'psi' (or parapsychology), is practiced by various scientists and reputable institutions all over the world.
This includes the study of paranormal activity and extended human human capacities like precognition and telepathy, among other things.
As the University of Calgary points out, parapsychology is an interdisciplinary field which has attracted physicists, engineers, biologists, psychologists, and researchers in other sciences as well.
The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) project is a great example of this comprehensive approach to the subject - a project that ran from 1979 until 2007, it aimed to examine if there was factual basis for theories in mind/matter interaction, or extrasensory perception (ESP).
Highly significant statistical deviation, far beyond what one could expect from chance, was seen there.
Another example would be the University of Virginia's Division of Perceptual Studies, in which they explore such phenomena as reincarnation, near death experiences (NDEs), and out of body experiences (OBEs).
Why are we presenting this information?
Because the examination of these types of phenomena is vital to increasing our understanding about the nature of our reality. A lot of new science is revealing how many, and how diverse, are the factors are which influence the so-called 'physical material world that we see around us.
So what can we learn from this information?
To keep an open mind, to know that not everything we believe to be true, is, and that maybe there are components of our reality that we have yet to understand.
We can learn that it's okay to take topics like this seriously, because there is a wealth of very compelling statistical data and observation that has many scientists interested in it… and perplexed.
This topic has been studied by numerous scientists who belong to various academic institutions from all over the world.
One great example comes from University of Virginia psychiatrist Jim Tucker, who in 2008 published a review of cases suggestive of reincarnation in the journal Explore.
In the article, he describes a typical reincarnation case, where subjects start reporting a past life experience. One common denominator of these cases is that they all involve children, with the average age being 35 months when subjects begin to report their experiences.
The experiences described are often detailed and extensive, and Tucker points out that many of these children show strong emotional involvement when speaking about their claims; some cry and beg to be taken to what they say is their previous family. Others show intense anger.
The subjects usually stop making their past-life statements by the age of six to seven, and most seem to lose the purported memories. That is the age when children start school and begin having more experiences in the current life, as well as when they tend to lose their early childhood memories.
One example Tucker describes, an American case, is of a child named Sam Taylor, who was a year and a half old when he started revealing some remarkable information:
Again, this is one of hundreds of cases.
Children have also been taken to their previous families, describing the qualities and characteristics of the families, and their own past lives, about which there is no possible way the child could know.
Here is another specific case that was examined by Dr. Tucker, which we wrote about a couple of months ago. And there are plenty more to choose from.
These are cases involving very young children and they offer little reason to suspect a hoax. From a scientific standpoint, however, even though these cases are intriguing, they still leave us with a problem that plagues most parapsychological research today.
As Tucker points out,
For a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click here.
At this link, you will find a select group of articles under the "precognition & presentiment" tab and more than enough scientific analyses to see why this topic is taken very seriously by some scientists.
A recently published study (meta analysis) in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled "Predicting the Unpredictable - Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity" examined a number of experiments, conducted by several different laboratories, regarding this phenomenon.
These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems able to know of an event and react to it before it actually occurs.
This reaction takes the form of physiological changes in the skin and in the cardiopulmonary and nervous systems.
Quite fascinating, isn't it?
Here is an article outlining 5 classic experiments that showed extremely significant results for human telepathy.
Some of the most interesting results come from something called "dream telepathy," where human beings have the ability to communicate telepathically with another person while they are dreaming.
According to Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. and professor of psychology at Saybrook University in California:
You can view a discussion and examination of these experiments in "Scientists Demonstrate Remarkable Evidence of Dream Telepathy Between People".
4. The "Star Gate" Project
The "Star Gate" project was a Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) program that examined parapsychological phenomena for more than twenty years before it was unexpectedly shut down.
One of the most interesting revelations (imo) when it comes to science and the paranormal comes from its remote viewing program.
Remote viewing is the ability of a person to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometers from their actual physical location. It's not just one person who can do this - many people have been shown to have this ability, and this is a verified fact.
The CIA and NSA, in conjunction with Stanford University, were involved in the scientific study of parapsychological phenomena that lasted more than two decades; they delved into remote viewing as part of this project.
As reported by a publication in the journal Scientific Exploration, one of the study's participants, Ingo Swann, was able to successfully describe and view a ring around Jupiter that scientists had no idea existed at the time.
5. Quantum Double Slit Experiment
In this experiment, a double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wave-function.
The ratio of the interference pattern's double slit spectral power to its single slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it.
The study found that factors associated with consciousness "significantly" correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double slit interference pattern.
This is a great experiment to show the connection between consciousness and our physical material world.
6. Delayed Choice/Quantum Eraser
Like the quantum double slit experiment, the delayed choice/quantum eraser has been demonstrated and repeated time and time again.
For example, physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment. The findings were recently published in the journal Nature Physics.
The delayed choice experiment illustrates how what happens in the present can change what happens(ed) in the past. It also shows how time can go backwards, how cause and effect can be reversed, and how the future caused the past.
You can read more about this experiment on 'Quantum Experiment Shows how "Time" Doesn't Exist as We Think it Does'.
7. Out of Body Experiences & Near Death Experiences
Below is a video of Dr. Bruce Greyson speaking at a conference that was held by the United Nations.
He is considered to be one of the fathers of near death studies. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science at the University of Virginia.
In the video he describes documented cases of individuals who were clinically dead (showing no brain activity) but observing everything that was happening to them on the medical table below at the same time. He describes how there have been many instances of this - where individuals are able to describe things that should have been impossible for them to have knowledge of.
Another significant statement by Dr. Greyson posits that this type of study has been discouraged due to our tendency to view science as completely materialistic.
Seeing is believing, so to speak, in the scientific community. It's unfortunate that just because we cannot explain something through materialistic means, it must be instantly discredited.
The simple fact that "consciousness" itself is a non-physical "thing" is troubling for some scientists; as a result of it being non material, they believe it cannot be studied by science.
Their findings were remarkable, to say the least:
Another study comes out of the University of Southampton, where scientists found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after death.
In the scientific world this was thought to be impossible. The study, published in the journal Resuscitation, is the world's largest of its kind.
Out of body experiences, a similar phenomenon, have also been examined in depth by science.
8. Healing At A Distance
Another great example of this is the placebo effect, which you can read more about in "The Placebo Effect - Transforming Biology with Belief".
Another study (which I have written about previously), published in the journal Explore in 2008, examined the effects of human intention on the autonomic nervous system of a human "sender" and the distant "receiver" of those intentions.
The design of the study went as follows:
The study concluded that a strong motivation to heal another, and for one to be healed themselves, may enhance this phenomenon.
It concluded that directing intention toward a distant person is associated with the activation of that person's autonomic nervous system - in this case, using measurements of skin conductance.